Meet Coach Katlynn!

What is your soccer story?

I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old because my whole family played and coached at the time. I joined a traveling team in Burnsville, MN when I was 9 years old. My aunt coached my traveling team until I was 14 years old when our team was taken over by another coach and I moved clubs to play closer to home. I played through 9th grade until my knees started giving out and I had to take a break. I coached for 5 years after until I moved to college at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN where I managed their women's soccer team. I served in the Peace Corps where I played pick-up soccer with some girls in my village and with embassies in the capital. While I got to play a little bit in Benin, soccer was dominated by men who told me I wasn't allowed to play because I am a woman. It was frustrating and humiliating to be rejected from play time and having to fight for a spot on the field. In August, I moved from Washington D.C. to SF and joined Girls Leading Girls. It has been a blast to surround myself with strong, loud, and unapologetic women and girls.

Favorite position in soccer? Right defender.

What is your professional / adult history?

I studied women's health and political science in college and have a strong sense of community service. I have been volunteering from a young age and love working with my community to support youth education. I have worked with LGBTQ high school and college students, taught sexual health both in the US and abroad, and have served on a number of diversity and inclusion committees. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa from 2016-2018 as a Rural Community Health Advisor. I worked with a small organization to focus on water sanitation and hygiene, providing 14 schools with trash cans and hand washing stations while continuing to educate students on the importance of hygiene.

How did you end up in SF and at GLG?

After returning from the Peace Corps in 2019, I moved to Washington D.C. to work with grants and development at a political nonprofit. I grabbed at the opportunity to move out to SF in August 2019 when my partner decided to move out here for graduate school and I accepted a job with GLG as the After School Program Coordinator.

What is the most important thing you want your players to understand -- the one takeaway from the Fall season?

I want to create an inclusive environment for my players where they feel comfortable trying new skills and positions during practice and in games. I aim to create a space where players can express themselves on and off the field and feel confident in their abilities and team. I want my players to understand that this space - the team, and GLG - is a place to lift one another up instead of telling each other we cannot do something. I'm still learning everyday how to be a better player, teammate, and coach and I encourage my players to do the same.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is being able to see the unique characteristic in each person and helping it flourish so we can celebrate our differences and be stronger together as a team!

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Brianna Russellkatlynn alm, coach